METAIRIE, LA — The call went out over the weekend to a list of people who work to help animals. Some veterinarians, some rescue group volunteers, all of them hurrying to help a swan at City Park.
Photographer P. J. Hahn was one of those who got the call. The swan had a fishing lure stuck in its mouth. Hahn helped organize the bird’s capture, all while taking photographs to record the mission.
Once the animal was in hand and under control, rescuers were able to cut the barbs from the fishing lure. But a string remained down the swan’s throat, and it could not be removed by gently pulling on it.
That’s how the Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana got involved. Dr. Leslie Pence at the veterinary clinic responded to the call for help. She examined the bird at the clinic.
Pence quickly scanned the bird, “…to make sure there was no extra hook or sinker or metal in her.”
But while there was no hook or sinker remaining in the bird, the line would not budge.
“So we ended up having to go to surgery at the base of her neck to try to reach the string. Which we were successful. I was able to cut the line and pull the remainder out,” Pence said.
Pence says, despite their graceful appearance, swans are hearty animals and can recover quickly from many surgeries. In fact, this bird could be released back to City Park within a day or two.